|Location:||Good Hope Estate, Trelawny, Jamaica|
|Occupation Dates:||Mid-eighteenth century through early-twentieth century|
|Dates excavated:||May-June 2014|
The archaeological investigation of the Good Hope Slave Village began in May of 2014 as dissertation research conducted by Hayden Bassett, a Ph.D. candidate in the College of William & Mary’s Department of Anthropology. The project was jointly sponsored by the College of William & Mary, the DAACS Caribbean Initiative, and Falmouth Heritage Renewal. This initial season of fieldwork provided the groundwork for the Good Hope Archaeological Project (GHAP), an ongoing investigation that continues to expand this dissertation fieldwork, and uncover insights into enslaved life in plantation Jamaica.
The 2014 field season at the slave village is the first known archaeological investigation conducted at Good Hope Estate. This initial season adopted methodological protocols previously used on the island by DAACS at Stewart Castle, Mona, and Papine, using a systematic shovel-test-pit (STP) survey to investigate social and temporal variation across larger landscapes. The 2014 Good Hope STP survey sampled the southwest corner of the village site, as determined by cartographic evidence and a non-collection pedestrian survey conducted the previous year. With a crew of seven and the participation of Falmouth Heritage Renewal’s 2014 Field School of Tangible Heritage, the team excavated a total of 182 STPs, yielding over 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid–18th to the early–20th century. Housing terraces, roads, paths, stone foundations, walls, and other landscape features in the immediate excavation area were hand-drawn and mapped with a total station.
Good Hope Estate, located approximately 10 km south of the port town of Falmouth, was established as a 1,000-acre plantation in 1744, and was fully developed for sugar production by the mid–1750s. The plantation operated under Col. Thomas Williams through 1767, when it was sold to John Tharp, an Anglo-Jamaican planter from the nearby Parish of Hanover. Tharp continued to develop the plantation through his death in 1804, at which point his attorneys and heirs sustained sugar production until the plantation was acquired by the Coy family after Emancipation (1838). Much of what is known about enslaved life at Good Hope, both historically and archaeologically, dates from this period of ownership by John Tharp and his heirs.
Following Tharp’s death in 1804, a probate inventory (R.184.108.40.206) recorded by the plantation’s managing attorney, William Green, listed 484 enslaved people living at Good Hope. These individuals were divided among at least 27 different enslaved occupations. Following a similar division of labor throughout sugar producing islands of the Caribbean, the vast majority of field labor was allocated to enslaved women, while skilled industrial trades were allocated to enslaved men. Both men and women comprised the enslaved workforce of domestic servants in the great house, overseer’s house, and doctor’s house. The inventory further reveals that by 1804, just over 58% of Good Hope’s enslaved population were born in Jamaica, while the remaining 42% represented at least 13 different ethnolinguistic groups from West and Central West Africa.
From the turn of the 19th century to the 1830s, Good Hope’s enslaved population declined as a result of the abolition of the British Slave Trade in 1807 and the actions of plantation managers in the early 1830s. Annual returns from 1813 to 1834 document an average of 440 enslaved laborers living at Good Hope; however, this number dropped to 394 in 1831. This coincides with proprietor William Tharp – John Tharp’s nephew – cutting the plantation’s medical expenses to increase profit margins amidst a slump in sugar prices. By 1837, three years into Jamaica’s Apprenticeship period, this number had dropped yet again to 306, in large part a product of the Emancipation of all children under the age of six. No known records exist for the size of the labor population following Emancipation in 1838, yet sugar production continued through the late–19th century.
With around 26 enslaved domestic servants living in or near the great house complex, it is estimated that an average population of 414 people lived within Good Hope’s slave village in any given year between the 1790s and the late–1820s. Few detailed population records survive before or after this period, though those that do suggest a slightly lower number in both the early and later years. A plantation survey plat drawn by John Henry Schroeter in 1794, documenting the approximate location of the slave village (Schroeter 1794), provides a general sense of the internal layout. The location of the village follows a general practice in Jamaica of placing the village site in close proximity to the plantation’s industrial core. The village itself is labeled “Negroe Houses” and depicts 50 small dwellings dispersed among coconut trees. The village is asymmetrically split between two sides of a road, with the majority of quarters situated on the east side. House lots are not arranged in rows and most possess a small, adjacent garden surrounded by a stone wall.
Excavation history, procedure, and methods
Archaeological testing of the Good Hope Village began in 2014 with a crew of students and archaeologists, led by Hayden Bassett. Joining Bassett, the crew was comprised of four undergraduate archaeology majors from the University of the West Indies (UWI) at Mona and local archaeologists, Rim Patterson and Clive Gray (an MA student of Heritage Studies at UWI). The project also benefited from the participation of students of Falmouth Heritage Renewal’s 2014 Field School of Tangible Heritage, representing undergraduates from Lake Forest College and the University of Virginia. Moreover, the team benefited from the architectural expertise of KeVaughn Harding and the archaeological support and consultation of Dr. Ivor Conolley.
In May of 2014, a datum was established with iron bar set in poured concrete in close proximity to the village road. Using identifiable landmarks from the 1794 Schroeter plantation survey plat, a local grid was established over the southwest corner of the 28,300-m² village. The excavation was divided into two areas, split on either side of the intersecting village road. Excavation Area 1 encompassed a large section of the village as indicated by the plat on the east side of the road.
Excavation Area 2 encompassed the total area of the village (and beyond) as indicated on the west side of the road. Using a total station, shovel-test-pits (STPs) were placed at 6-meter intervals, organized in nine transects in Area 1 and six transects in Area 2. An alphanumeric system was used to identify STP contexts, comprised of an area number, a transect letter, and an STP number within that transect. For example, “1-R–04” signifies the fourth consecutive STP in Transect R of Excavation Area 1. Each alphanumeric designation is preceded by the Good Hope Village site number, “1236.” All STPs were 50 centimeters in diameter and 100% screened through 1/4” mesh. Following methodological standards previously used on the island by DAACS, STPs were not excavated statigraphically, but rather as assemblages.
Sediments were recorded in profile by stratigraphic layer, with each layer characterized by depth, sediment texture, mussel color, inclusion type, inclusion size, and inclusion percentage.
Together, the crew excavated a total of 182 STPs yielding over 12,000 artifacts, and in some places, revealing the locations of house and garden walls, brick paving, and terraced platforms. All artifacts were washed and bagged by STP and material type on-site. The heaviest artifacts, including large bricks and metals, were catalogued into the DAACS database remotely from Jamaica, while the rest of the material was catalogued in Virginia at the College of William and Mary and the DAACS lab at Monticello.
Summary of research and analysis
Preliminary research on the Good Hope Village has focused on analysis of spatial distributions of artifact types, the defining of household activity areas, and the establishment of a site chronology.
Correspondence analysis of ceramic assemblages aided in providing a four-phase chronology for the village. Mean-ceramic dates of the four phases range from 1791 to 1846, suggesting that the village was likely occupied from the 1770s through the mid–19th century. Outside of the four-phase chronology, a brief period of domestic occupation appears to have occurred in the 1930s and 40s, corresponding with Good Hope’s early years as a tourist resort. Detailed information on the Good Hope Village chronology can be found here.
Spatial analysis of ceramic assemblages suggest that the site’s earliest occupation was concentrated in the northern part of Area 1 and in close proximity to landscape terraces in Area 2. Early to mid–19th century phases gradually fill-in the complete area of excavation, with later components repopulating Area 2. Twentieth-century occupation of the site occurs exclusively in two concentrated sections of Area 1. Artifact densities suggest the most intensive occupation of the village occurred in the first-quarter of the 19th century, corresponding with a historically documented peak in the plantation’s enslaved population. Together, spatial-temporal patterns indicate continuous domestic occupation of the village from the late–18th century through several decades after Emancipation (1838), with a brief period of occupation by two or more households during Good Hope’s early resort years. Further and more detailed analysis is ongoing, and will in part, help guide a second season of fieldwork to be conducted in the summer of 2015.
College of William and Mary
- In the DAACS database, the Good Hope Village site is designated as Project “1236”. Artifact ID numbers for artifacts associated with the village therefore begin with the 1236 prefix.
- Measurements are in meters and centimeters.
- All sediment excavated from the site was screened through ¼-inch mesh.
- The excavation utilized a local grid and datum point.
- 182 shovel-test-pits were excavated at the Good Hope Village in May and June 2014.
- This initial season adopted methodological protocols previously used on the island by DAACS at Stewart Castle, Mona, and Papine, using a systematic shovel-test-pit (STP) survey to investigate social and temporal variation across larger landscapes.
- An alphanumeric system was established for naming STPs that combine the Area, the Transect Letter, and the STP number. The Good Hope Village site was divided into two areas, Area 1 and Area 2. Transects were labeled alphabetically across the site. STPs were numbered consecutively within each transect. As a result, STP context numbers follow this format: 1-R-04, which translates into Pit 4, on Transect R, in Area 1.
- Hayden Bassest is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the College of William and Mary and is was the DAACS Caribbean Initiative’s research assistant during the two-year DAACS Research Consortium project. In addition to planning and conducting the Good Hope excavations, Hayden, assisted by DAACS staff Leslie Cooper, Lynsey Bates, and Elizabeth Bollwerk, cataloged all of the artifacts and context records excavated from the Good Hope Village.
There were no archaeological features identified or excavated at the Good Hope Village site during the 2014 field season.
DAACS has developed an uniform set of methods to infer intra-site chronologies for all of the sites included in the archive. These methods, which include frequency-seriation and correspondence analysis, were developed by DAACS (see Neiman, Galle, and Wheeler 2003 for technical details). The use of common methods for all sites in the archive is designed to increase comparability among temporal phases at different sites. The methods and the phase assignments they produced are summarized below. Archive users may also use the Mean Ceramic Date queries provided on the Query the Database section of this website to calculate MCDs for individual contexts or features.
DAACS Seriation Method
This section summarizes the frequency-seriation based chronology for shovel-test-pits excavated at the Good Hope Village during the 2014 field season. This chronology will be revised as additional excavation data are added to the archive after the 2015 field season. To infer a chronology from the STPs we used correspondence analysis (CA) of ware-type frequencies. We employ CA because with the numbers of STP assemblages in the hundreds, a traditional manual frequency seriation is completely impractical. CA converts a data matrix of ware-type frequencies into a set of scores that estimate the positions of the assemblages on underlying axes or dimensions of variation. MCDs are weighted averages of the historically documented manufacturing dates for each ware type found in an assemblage, where the weights are the relative frequencies of the types. Measuring the correlation between CA axis scores and MCDs offer an indication of whether the CA scores capture time (Ramenofsky, Neiman and Pierce 2009).
DAACS seriated ceramic assemblages from the slave village that contained more than 5 sherds from individual excavated contexts. Seriated contexts were assigned to four phases. Phases are groups of assemblages that have similar correspondence-analysis scores and are therefore inferred to be broadly contemporary. Phases assigned by DAACS have a P-prefix that precedes the phase number (e.g. P01 equals Phase 1).Please note that at the Good Hope Village, ware types, not mean-ceramic-date types, were used in the frequency seriation, correspondence analysis, and in developing the dates for each occupational phase. Please go to see the About the Database section for more information on the differences between ware types and mean-ceramic-date types.
Good Hope Village Chronology
The CA for the Good Hope Village resulted in four occupational phases for the survey area. The Good Hope Village dates from the 1770s through the mid-19th century.
The table below includes the site-wide Mean Ceramic Date and the BLUE MCD, which gives less influence to ceramic types with long manufacturing spans, point to the occupation’s temporal placement the second quarter of the eighteenth century. It also provides three TPQ estimates. The first TPQ estimate is the usual one – the maximum beginning manufacturing date among all the ware-types in the assemblage. The second estimate — TPQp90 — is the 90th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates among all the sherds in the assemblage, based on their ware-types. TheTPQp95 provides a robust estimate of the site’s TPQ based on the 95th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates for all the artifacts comprising it. These last two TPQ estimates are more robust against excavation errors and taphonomic processes that might have introduced a few anomalously late sherds into an assemblage.
Good Hope Village Harris Matrix
The Harris Matrix summarizes stratigraphic relationships among excavated contexts and groups of contexts that DAACS staff has identified as part of the same stratigraphic group. Stratigraphic groups and contexts are represented as boxes, while lines connecting them represent temporal relationships implied by the site’s stratification, as recorded by the site’s excavators (Harris 1979).
There is no Harris Matrix for the Good Hope Village site. Excavation during the 2014 field season consisted solely of a shovel-test-pit survey.
Excavator's site plan, with STP locations labeled.
Bassett, Hayden F.
2014 The Good Hope Slave Hospital, Trelawny, Jamaica: An Architectural Study, 1798-2014. Report on file at the Department of Anthropology, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.
1877 The Late Fire at Good Hope Estate. Falmouth Post. August 14.
1763 Map of the Island of Jamaica; Map D. Fournier. Jamaica. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. http://www.loc.gov/item/73691873/.
Ford, Joseph Charles, and Frank Cundell
1908 The Handbook of Jamaica: Comprising Historical, Statistical and General Information Concerning the Island. U.S. Government Printing Office.
Harris, Edward C.
1979 Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy. Academic Press, London, England.
Neiman, Fraser D., Jillian E. Galle , and Derek Wheeler
2003 Chronological Inference and DAACS. Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Providence, Rhode Island. On file at the Department of Archaeology, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Nelson, Louis P.
2011 Good Hope, Trelawny Parish, Jamaica. In Falmouth, Jamaica Field Guide, pp. 146–155. Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF).
Ogilvie, Daniel L.
1954 History of the Parish of Trelawny. http://jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Samples/histre06.htm.
Pearsall, Sarah M.S.
2008 Atlantic Families : Lives and Letters in the Later Eighteenth Century: Lives and Letters in the Later Eighteenth Century. Oxford University Press.
Ramenofsky, Ann , Fraser D. Neiman , and Christopher Pierce
2009 Measuring Time, Population, And Residential Mobility From The Surface at San Marcos Pueblo, North Central New Mexico. American Antiquity, 74(3): 505-530.
Schroeter, John Henry
1794 Map of Good Hope Estate, Trelawny, Jamaica. Survey plat. Good Hope Estate, private collection.
Tharp Family Papers, R.220.127.116.11
1804 Good Hope Estate: Inventory of Tools, Slaves, Cattle, Mules. Tharp Family Papers. Cambridge County Records, Cambridge, UK.